Top pri­or­ity is avoid­ing toxic po­ten­tial of Brexit

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - News -

The UK’s EU exit has the po­ten­tial to turn “toxic”, ac­cord­ing to one of Ger­many’s most se­nior politi­cians.

David McAllister, tipped as a po­ten­tial suc­ces­sor to An­gela Merkel as the coun­try’s chan­cel­lor, warned Bri­tish politi­cians the coun­try will end up worse off after quit­ting the union.

Al­though he in­sisted “the UK will re­main a neigh­bour, friend, trade part­ner and Nato ally for us in con­ti­nen­tal Europe”, Mr McAllister, who is halfS­cot­tish, added ne­go­ti­a­tions could be­come bru­tal if they do not be­gin well.

He said: “If it’s a soft Brexit or a hard Brexit – and we know that the prime min­is­ter is head­ing for a hard or even very hard Brexit – we def­i­nitely need an or­derly Brexit and not a nasty Brexit.

“This whole is­sue of Brexit has, as we say in Ger­many, toxic po­ten­tial. If we get the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions not done in a good way, it can be harm­ful for both sides,” added Mr McAllister.

Call­ing the two-year with­drawal timetable “very am­bi­tious”, Mr McAllister in­sisted that money, bor­der is­sues, dis­en­tan­gling treaties and se­cur­ing the rights of UK and EU cit­i­zens will be at the heart of the 27 re­main­ing mem­ber states’ ne­go­ti­a­tions. He added: “But in the next few months, it is not about pun­ish­ing the Bri­tish, def­i­nitely not. We want an or­derly Brexit, but what Lon­don has to un­der­stand is Lon­don has its spe­cific in­ter­ests, we have our spe­cific in­ter­ests.”

In what will be seen as a swipe at Theresa May, the MEP also ques­tioned why the prime min­is­ter wants to leave the sin­gle mar­ket when Mar­garet Thatcher “more or less in­vented” it.

Mr McAllister said: “One of the most im­por­tant Bri­tish con­tri­bu­tions to the de­vel­op­ment of the EU in the last 30 years was the de­vel­op­ment of the sin­gle mar­ket. That was a Bri­tish pro­ject and

“It is not about pun­ish­ing the Bri­tish, def­i­nitely not. We want an or­derly Brexit”

it was a good pro­ject, ben­e­fi­cial for us all. Why are these peo­ple so keen not only to leave the EU but also the sin­gle mar­ket?”

An­gela Merkel is tipped to be re­placed as party leader by Mr McAllister

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.